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Charles Frankel

The End of the Dinosaurs

It is now the consensus that 65 million years ago there was a major impact which caused a major extinction. In The End of the Dinosaurs:Chicxulub Crater and Mass Extinctions Charles Frankel describes how this idea came to be accepted.

The book starts with a look at how gradualism used to be the dominant idea in geology and paleontology. The evidence against it started to stack up though. In the rock layers delineating the geological timescale, there was a suprisingly thin layer when the Cretaceous gave way to the Tertiary (K-T boundary), implying a dramatic change over a relatively short time. Furthermore, this layer had an excess of iridium, implying a connection with meteoritic material. Tektites - small blobs of rock which had melted - also supported the impact hypothesis. But there was still much resistance to such an outlandish idea until the Chicxulub crater was discovered. Frankel explains how things then fell into place. He goes on to describe what would have happened following the impact, and in the last couple of chapters looks at other impacts, including candidates for other mass extinctions as well as those which have occurred within human history.

If you're looking for a book about dinosaurs, then this might not be for you - it's more a book about extraterrestrial impacts. It's well written, giving an easy to follow account for the non-specialist, but also giving an insight into the working of the scientific world, and how a controversial topic is dealt with.

Amazon.com info
Hardcover 236 pages  
ISBN: 0521474477
Salesrank: 1198735
Weight:0.85 lbs
Published: 1999 Cambridge University Press
Amazon price $25.00
Marketplace:New from $25.00:Used from $10.29
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Amazon.co.uk info
Hardcover 236 pages  
ISBN: 0521474477
Salesrank: 493267
Weight:0.85 lbs
Published: 1999 Cambridge University Press
Marketplace:New from £40.78:Used from £28.88
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Amazon.ca info
Hardcover 236 pages  
ISBN: 0521474477
Salesrank: 971503
Weight:0.85 lbs
Published: 1999 Cambridge University Press
Amazon price CDN$ 82.95
Marketplace:New from CDN$ 76.45:Used from CDN$ 54.13
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Product Description
The discovery of the giant Chicxulub impact crater, buried off the coast of Mexico, unveiled the solution to one of Earth's greatest mysteries--what killed the dinosaurs. Scientists uncovered physical evidence to explain the mass extinction that rocked the Earth 65 million years ago. Step-by-step, The End of the Dinosaurs: Chicxulub Crater and Mass Extinctions tells this great scientific detective story. Charles Frankel recounts the birth of the cosmic hypothesis, which holds that the crash of a meteor on the Earth's surface killed two-thirds of life and all the dinosaurs. He first provides a dramatic account of the impact and its aftermath. Frankel then goes on to detail the controversy that preceded the acceptance of the cosmic hypothesis, the search for the crater, its discovery and ongoing exploration, and the effect of the giant impact on the biosphere. In addition, he reviews other mass extinctions in the fossil record and the threat of asteroids and comets to our planet today. More than 70 photographs and diagrams enhance and help illustrate the material. Filled with drama and interesting science, The End of the Dinosaurs will readily appeal to both the general reader fascinated with the subject and the specialist always searching for more clues to this great mystery. Charles Frankel has written a number of articles on the earth sciences in books and magazines. His many books include Volcanoes of the Solar System (Cambridge University Press 1996).